A man said to the Universe, "Sir, I exist!" "However," replied the Universe, "the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation." -- Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
BOGUE, Kan. - A reader asked me to write about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, now postponed until 2013.
The 36-inch diameter pipe would cover 329 miles in Canada, cross the border at Montana, angle through South Dakota and Nebraska (with a branch to Illinois). Photo shows truck hauling 36-Inch pipe to build Keystone-Cushing Pipeline south-east of Peabody, Kansas, 2010 (from WIkipedia).
Then it would slice across the eastern third of Kansas through Oklahoma to Texas -- over 2,100 miles in all. The estimated 1.1 million barrels daily of synthetic crude oil from Alberta tar sands would equate to 5 pct. of present U.S. oil consumption, and 9 pct. of our present imports.
Estimates of new jobs vary wildly. Promoters say 250,000. Skeptics say as few as 4,000--most temporary. The environmental degradation to Canada would be (and already is) dramatic. Leaks are a constant worry. If 97 percent of climate scientists have it right, continued fossil fuel burning is a bigger threat. Those who've read my columns know I'm convinced scientists are correct.
But there's an underlying and larger issue: the deception of free market capitalism. It isn't free. It's cracked, and the crack is growing.